Think Straight–Feel Great

A Critique and Rearranging of Choices of Successful Students (from Downing. On Course, 6E. 2011 Wadsworth, a part of Cengage Learning Inc.)

Recently, I was sitting at my desk in my office, and I glanced at a sheet posted on my bulletin board, viz., “Choices of Successful Students.” 

It dawned on me, from a logical and epistemological analysis, that these 8 characteristics of successful students are out of order, and possibly could be confusing in terms of our human odyssey, and how the brain functions and how we learn.  Downing’s listing–

  1. Accept personal responsibility
  2. Discover self-motivation
  3. Master self-management
  4. Employ interdependence
  5. Gain self-awareness
  6. Adopt life-long learning
  7. Develop emotional intelligence
  8. Believe in themselves


I would rearrange Downing’s list as follows:  In parentheses, I have added the 8 Pillars of Greek Wisdom which co-mingle with Downing’s 8 Choices of Successful Students, and certainly the wisdom of the Greeks pre-dates Downing’s list:

  1. Gain self-awareness (Self-Knowledge)
  2. Develop emotional intelligence (Practice of Moderation)
  3. Discover self-motivation (Pursuit of Excellence)
  4. Believe in themselves (Individualism)
  5. Accept personal responsibility (Rationalism)
  6. Master self-management (Love of Freedom)
  7. Employ interdependence (Humanism)
  8. Adopt life-long learning (Restless Curiosity)


In addition, I would like to add 8 sequential choices of ethical decision making:

  1.  – Becoming self-aware
  2.  – Seeking ethical knowledge
  3.  – Developing an ethical belief system
  4.  – Practicing emotional discipline
  5.  – Consciously exercising free will
  6.  – Demonstrating more courage and personal responsibility
  7.  – Acting on your commitment
  8.  – Living accordingly – “The time is always right to do what is right” (Martin Luther King Jr.)


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